Is Kalegorithm a word?
February 1, 2016 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I want to start making smoothies with kale. What's the tastiest way to do this? I feel like ther must be a formula I can plug my various fruits and liquids into in order to end up with a new creamy drink. Please share tips, recipes, etc. Latest thread is 6 years old and has a lot of dead links.

Also, I hate bananas in smoothies.
posted by bq to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Kale, banana, seeds and/or nuts, frozen berries, orange or apple, a tablespoon of coconut oil. Half fruit, half veggies. Can mix in other things with kale, I.e. Cucumber, lettuce, spinach, etc.
posted by zagyzebra at 11:18 AM on February 1, 2016

You want to plug in something that adds sweetness to temper the green taste (that's why people use banana) and something smooth and/or rich to alter the leafy mouth feel of greens (banana used here, too).

Greens - kale, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, etc.
Sweet - apple, orange, strawberry, banana, honey, etc.
Smooth - banana, coconut oil, yogurt, milk, peanut butter, etc.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2016

I feel like ther must be a formula I can plug my various fruits and liquids into in order to end up with a new creamy drink.

Yeah, you can kind of work yourself up a formula. Start with a few basic "needs" and tweak the types and proportions from there.

For a creamy smoothie, you'll need something that provides a fatty mouthfeel. Perhaps that's a banana, perhaps an avocado, perhaps several spoons of yogurt. All will work well.

Because it's kale, you'll need something that can provide sweetness. Bananas can pull double duty on this one, but so can berries and other fruits, so can honey/sweeteners, so can juice.

For smoothability, you need a liquid medium. This can be a sweet juice, just water, whatever you want.

To max out the nutrients, you may also want to add a protein source. Nuts, flax meal, peanut butter (also good for creamy mouthfeel and sweetness), silken tofu (great for creamy mouthfeel, too), or the yogurt as listed above, etc.

So that right there is three things you "need" plus the bonus fourth if you want to add protein. The exact ratio depends on how you like your smoothies and what kind of flavor profile you want.
posted by phunniemee at 11:37 AM on February 1, 2016

The most important thing you need to make good smoothies with greens is a good blender.
My roommate lets me taste test her crazy concoctions and there is a huge difference between the pre-Vitamix era and now. Having to chew your smoothies is gross.

Otherwise just stick to the old keep-adding-until-it-tastes-right technique to figure out what suits your likings. Soy milk, almond milk, fruits... and definitely yogurt if you want creamy. Frozen fruit is also great for this and you don't need to add ice (berry mixes, mango, pineapple...).

But specifically for the past few weeks, she's been living off of spinach/kale + yogurt + frozen berries + soy milk to desired texture.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 12:47 PM on February 1, 2016

Best answer: I have refined this recipe over the course of about 18 months, and I am VERY. EXCITED. to share it with you.

1T hemp seeds
1T ground flax meal
1T chia seeds
1t ground cinnamon
2T raw apple cider vinegar
1.5C fresh apple cider or apple juice
pinch of salt
2C washed kale, including stems, broken into small pieces
1 red pear, cut into small chunks
1.5C ice

Add first eight ingredients to your blender carafe and blend until smooth. Add remaining 2 ingredients and blend until smooth again. Makes 1 quart of deliciousness.

Regarding tips...
    • I like a balance of sweet, tangy and fruity. I like the taste of kale in kale-centric applications, but in my breakfast smoothies, I prefer the taste to be well masked. I've tinkered with the amount of sweetness to tanginess in the above recipe and got it to where I think it tastes great while delivering the desired amount of kale goodness.
    • Blending in stages is a good general smoothie technique, mainly to keep the mixture from seizing up and keep the blending going smoothly. I like to blend kale and liquid first, then add ice and other fruit. This gets the kale extra smooth, which can be gritty otherwise.
    • A high speed blender is a must. I probably wouldn't be the kale smoothie fanatic that I am today if I hadn't been gifted a Vitamix a few birthdays back. If you wonder if a blender is really worth that much, the answer is yes, yes it is.
    • Getting some protein in the mix is good for satiety. I once included a few ounces of silken tofu in my smoothie, but have since found the seeds are enough. If you do go for soft tofu, use the shelf-stable stuff in aseptic packaging. It blends up much smoother than the water-packed stuff.

  • posted by slogger at 1:40 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

    If you have a regular blender that isn't amazing but want to start somewhere, green smoothies with spinach rather than kale are not terrible. I do 1 cup almond milk + 1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt + 1 cup mixed frozen fruit + as much spinach as I can stuff in my little blender after that. More spinach makes it less tasty obviously so mess around with the proportions to see what works for you.
    posted by tatiana wishbone at 1:53 PM on February 1, 2016

    Best answer: Three awesomely delicious nutritarian recipes:

    Eat Your Greens Fruit Smoothie
    Serves: 2
    Preparation Time: 3 minutes

    3 ounces baby spinach or kale
    2 ounces romaine lettuce
    1 banana
    1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
    1/2 cup unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
    1/2 cup pomegranate juice
    1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

    Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
    Serves: 1
    Preparation Time: 5 minutes

    2 cups baby kale blend
    1 tablespoon natural, no-salt-added peanut butter
    1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder
    1/2 ripe frozen banana
    1/2-1 cup soy, hemp or almond milk
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Blend all ingredients in blender.

    Adjust the amount of non-dairy milk to desired consistency. For added sweetness, add 1-2 pitted dates.

    Purple Power Smoothie
    Serves: 2
    Preparation Time: 5 minutes

    1 cup pomegranate juice
    2 cups kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
    1/4 medium cucumber
    1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    1 cup frozen mixed berries or strawberries
    3 pitted dates
    2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
    Blend ingredients in high-powered blender until smooth and creamy.

    I am sorry I didn't spot you hate bananas, but will tell you that there are lots of substitute ingredients that work in the stead of banana. Try one of these.
    posted by bearwife at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

    Best answer: Just chiming in to say that I can't have bananas (despite the username, they give me migraines).

    My favorite stand-in for bananas in smoothies is frozen mango.

    It makes the smoothie both creamy and sweet, as people upthread mentioned about bananas, and if the mango is already frozen, you probably won't need to add ice.

    I love the frozen mango in the Trader Joe's freezer section, and have had great success swapping it for bananas in recipes (I just assume that a cup-ish of mango is about a banana).

    You might also check out this list of banana-free smoothies over at Simple Green Smoothies. (I just did their 30-day Green Smoothie Challenge and liked the structure and recipes, so that might also be a good place to start, in general.)
    posted by bananacabana at 3:57 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

    The first page of the smoothie chapter in Eat to Live has a table similar to what you're describing, with columns for liquid (milks, vinegars, and juices), greens, fruit, and flavor/other (dates, chia seeds, nuts...).

    There are also entire cookbooks of just smoothie recipes, good to flip through to get new ideas for ingredients or proportions.
    posted by orangejenny at 4:27 PM on February 1, 2016

    Also, Superfood Smoothies is a fantastic book. My wife uses it everyday. (I, on the otherhand, drink the same kale smoothie every day.)
    posted by slogger at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2016

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